London: Thousands of people in search of better health and wellbeing poured into the annual Natural & Organic Products Europe show at the UK capital’s ExCel exhibition centre, sampling everything from food and drink to beauty products. The two-day event, which ended on April 23, attracted more than 700 exhibitors from around the world, including India.
Spearheading the route to the feel-good destination was turmeric which was turning up in all kinds of products like tea, coffee, smoothies, ice creams, nibbles and beauty items. Event director Carol Dunning described the last 12 months as “incredibly exciting” and said consumer interest in the natural and organic sphere showed no signs of slowing down.
Senior buyers rubbed shoulders with decision makers from some of the UK’s biggest retailers, wholesalers and distributors including Amazon, Boots, Holland & Barrett, Aldi, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Ocado, Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic, The Health Store, Revital, BigGreenSmile, British Airways and many more. Representatives of independent stores, multiples, pharmacies, restaurants, cafes, contract caterers, hotels, salons and spas were there to keep in touch with the latest natural and organic innovations and retail trends. Al Overton, Planet Organic’s buying chief, said: “Newness is crucial to our business.” Also praising the show was Holly Shackleton, editor of Speciality Food magazine, who said: “Whether it’s a new take on an established product you’re looking for, or something brand new to knock your socks off, you’ll find it here.” Nutritionists popped up everywhere, eager to answer questions, many on how to lose weight safely.
The Soil Association’s 2018 Organic Market Report stated that “the appetite for organic food and drink is growing, with the market now valued at £2.2 billion.” Consumer research conducted by the Organic Trade Board last year revealed that 74 per cent of consumers are eager to support local shops and businesses which stock organic products.
Turmerlicious is a company that laid out its range of instant turmeric latte blends which are vegan and free from dairy, gluten and caffeine. The blend is made from coconut milk, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and a “hint of black pepper.” Its four flavours are vanilla, ginger, chocolate and chilli choc.
‘Destination Reporter India’ spoke to Devyani Sharma, owner of a firm called Spice Root, an organic ingredients supplier to retail, wholesale and bulk customers. She said: “Our products are grown on sustainable, certified organic farms supporting farming communities all over India.” Spice Root has “deep connections” to Ayurveda, supplying herbs, grains and lentils, nutraceuticals and superfoods online. The firm, with a totally organic supply chain, also handles private label orders from buyers across Europe. Its spice list includes cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, mace, pepper, tamarind and turmeric.
We found Bena Patel on an Indian-sounding stand, Sunita, which she revealed combines two words – “sun” and “Italy”. She told us: “We are an Italian firm specialising in selling tea, coffee and juices, all containing turmeric.”
Pukka Herbs showed its range of herbal teas and wellbeing supplements. Its senior events co-ordinator, Charlotte Ellis, told us the company uses “turmeric, ginger and cinnamon” to flavour its 38 varieties of tea. One per cent of Pukka Herbs’ turnover goes to support not-for-profit environmental organisations.
Arnaud Anandane, chief operational officer of Vidya Herbs Pvt. Ltd. of Bengaluru, told us the firm’s spices, including turmeric, are sourced from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. He was manning the group’s Video Europe stand. Organic extracts, he said, include turmeric, ashwagandha, ginger, green coffee, natural caffeine, moringa and garcinia. “We give financial support to local populations,” he said. Vidya Europe, with its warehouse in France, can arrange “quick deliveries”.
Organic India, billed the “vehicle of consciousness”, declared that it is a “living embodiment of love and consciousness in action, working with thousands of farming families in India to cultivate tens of thousands of acres of sustainable, organic farmland.” It offers a huge selection of Ayurvedic and medicinal herbs in bulk quantities, everything from amla, andrographis, Arjuna bark to bacopa, celastrus, katuki and neem flower to turmeric and vibhitaki. Its organic spices include black pepper, black and green cardamom, cinnamon, clove, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, ginger, mustard, nutmeg and turmeric whole and ground.
Sindh Punjab International displayed its dates, all “gluten-free with no added sugar, preservatives, high in fibre and antioxidants”. The firm is a date merchant, processor and exporter and proclaims that the “desert-like climate of Sindh Province provides near-perfect growing conditions for sweet, succulent, full-bodied dates.” Sugar Vida showed its award-winning Ayurvedic samples of turmeric lattes with organic black pepper, offered in three flavours – spicy ginger, cardamom and original.
Tasty Bite, an all-vegetable firm, featured Bombay potatoes, Chana masala, Madras lentils, Punjab aubergine, spinach dal, vegetable korma and vegetable tikka masala.
Turmeric Vitality is the UK’s specialist turmeric brand in bio-fermented liquids and organic capsules for “digestive and immune support” with ginger, black pepper and papaya fruit. Turmeric also showed up in Lions Tea of Sri Lanka which produces 25 luxury teas to help people detox, sleep, improve energy and heal internal disorders. Its chairman Anil Fernando said: “We Asians have been consuming turmeric in our food for centuries and now the world has woken up to its immense health and healing powers. This is a most wonderful development.” Lions teas are popular in the UK, China, USA , Russia and elsewhere.
Demeter Felderzeugnisse is a German distribution company dealing in organic deep-frozen products for retail and food services. Lazaro Campuzano told us products include lentil curry which is “very popular in India because of its natural flavours.”
Coconut Merchant showed its award-winning range of raw organic extra virgin coconut oil as well as coconut jam, snack chips, nectar, savoury sauce, vinegar, savoury sauce, milk powder, milk, sugar, butter, raw and toasted flakes. “All ethically produced,” is their proud boast.
Jeeva Natural UK offered organic products like virgin coconut oil, either in natural form or infused with chilli, garlic, turmeric, black pepper and vanilla. The Cheeky Panda “brings sustainable, healthy, low carbon solutions to your home and office,” all bamboo-based spanning facial and toilet tissues, kitchen towels, cocktail and dinner napkins.
WooBamboo highlighted its range of toothbrushes that are biodegradable, antimicrobial, non-toxic and coated in natural wax, for adults, children and pets. It also produces toothpaste and floss in various flavours like vanilla mint, sweet cinnamon, marshmellow and bubble berry.
Thyme Marketing showed among its products Indian vindaloo and Madras lentils. Harmony’s Ear Candles, a USA firm, sourced its cotton from Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to make beeswax candles. Owned by husband-and-wife Kevin and Harmony Boulton, Harmony demonstrated the routine by lighting and placing a candle in a visitor’s ear, a low protective base ready to capture melted wax. Kevin told us: “You are lying down and can feel the strong aromas of eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, frankincense and lavender seep into your head, nose and throat, soothing away coughs, colds and flu effectively.”
More than 70 chief executives and senior managers from several organisations such as the Soil Association, Sustainable Food Trust, Organic Trade Board, Natural Balance Foods, Made for Life and many more gave talks in three packed theatres on topics like innovating with seaweeds; a new type of hydration; food as medicine; the future of plant-based foods; bone health revolution; living culture symbiotics; stress; and the social value of cosmetics and beauty trends.
The event was organised by Diversified UK which is part of Diversified Communications, a leading international media company with a portfolio of face-to-face exhibitions and conferences, online communities and digital and print publications. As producers of these market-leading products Diversified Communications connects, educates and strengthens business communities in over 14 industries including: food and beverage, healthcare, natural and organic, business management and technology. Established in 1949 it is headquartered in Portland, Maine, USA with divisions and offices around the world.